The historical expansion of Europe and its encounters with “others” over the course of the last five centuries has included conquest, colonization, and trade. These processes led to co-existence and multi-faceted transcultural relationships as well as modes of domination, marginalization, systemic racialized oppression, and exclusion. Such European encounters with “black otherness” has resulted in a “Global Blackness,” by which we mean to refer both to the world that Europe made in its encounters with the African continent and to the result of those encounters spread across the old and new worlds. More than a reference to black subjects and/or groups and their intricate relations to a slave and colonial past, the concept of “Global Blackness” is meant to signal attention to the complexities of racialized and ethnicized differences, inequalities, structures, identity formations, cultural production and reception; to the intricate processes of social, self, and de jure classifications; the dispersal of subjects and groups who have been and are at the margins of social accommodation, as well as the forces that have shaped blackness—identities and communities—around the world; the stories of African-descended people across the diaspora, spanning more than five centuries and a dozen countries of settlement, from Britain, Canada, and the United States to Haiti, Guyana, and Brazil; and to the the ways in which black people have and continue to be adaptive, resilient, and proactive in shaping their collective destinies and self-definitions despite systemic efforts to undermine them.
The 2017 annual meeting of the Association of Black Sociologists will explore Blackness in Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and other Diaspora contexts, considering: the concept of race, notions of racial formation, and newer concepts such as “post-blackness”; the connection of blackness to the larger Diaspora; the meaning and significance of “Blackness” around the world; and how blackness as a concept shapes cultural flows and exchanges saliently impacts popular culture in the global context. It will also consider how blackness serves as a constant reminder of systemic racism around the world; how various encounters with “black otherness” have resulted in global disparities; comparative cross-national analyses of the concept of “blackness” with concepts of “whiteness”; the on-going ramifications of these concepts and their relation to one another in a world where notions of multi-raciality and “trans-raciality” are gaining more purchase; the various means by which lower or higher social status is accorded and characterized by European-derived notions of white supremacy; as well as the ties that connect blacks, including individual and/or multiple intersections of continents, cultural backgrounds, nationalities, languages, religions, class, skin tones and economic levels.
Plenaries, paper sessions, panels, student roundtables, cultural, and creative works related to black people in the diaspora and documentaries are just a few of the events that will engage this important topic, and in doing so, will keep the fires of academically-informed social research and activism burning bright. Comparative and cross-cultural perspectives are encouraged.